Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson announces upcoming retirement following 35 years of service
After 35 years of service, Glenwood Springs Chief of Police Terry Wilson has announced that he will officially retire on Feb. 1, 2020.
Wilson, whose family lineage in Glenwood Springs dates back to his great grandfather, has lived in Glenwood Springs himself since the age of 5.
He was no stranger to dangerous jobs even before his career in law enforcement, having worked in the Thompson Creek coal mine.
“It was something that was just very commonplace,” Wilson recalled of his experience working in the mine as an 18-year-old.
“For a lot of us local kids it was almost a rite of passage.”
Following his five-year-long rite of passage in the mines, Wilson took a job with the Glenwood Springs Police Department as the “the lowest man on the totem pole,” in his words — the dogcatcher.
However, it was not long before Wilson was elevated to a patrol officer where he went on to train quite a few familiar faces in the community.
“Terry was one of the guys there that I learned so much from during my early days in law enforcement,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said of his training officer with the Glenwood PD before he was elected sheriff.
Vallario called Wilson’s retirement bittersweet, but commended the Glenwood chief on his accomplishments and compassion.
“To have succeeded in his profession how he has is a testament to what a good person he is. Terry is clearly well liked and well appreciated in the community, and he is going to be missed,” Vallario added.
Wilson recalled the July 6, 1994 Storm King Fire that took the lives of 14 firefighters as a tragedy that exemplified the community’s kinship.
“Some of the things that will always strike me about this town as it relates to my career will be the panic of the Storm King Fire and watching people come from everywhere to help,” Wilson said. “To help their neighbors, help their friends, to help total strangers.”
Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson, who has worked countless scenes with Wilson, said he too would miss Glenwood’s longtime police chief dearly.
“He has always had a very collaborative attitude, which is why he is liked so much in this community,” Tillotson said. “He is just great to work with and I am going to miss him a whole lot.”
According to a Thursday press release, the city will conduct a national search for a new police chief, in which Wilson will assist.
Wilson praised his officers for their service to the community but also thanked Glenwood’s residents as a whole.
“This has been the most amazing community to have a career in law enforcement in,” Wilson said. “It reminds you that you live and work in a very special place.”
When asked what he looked forward to the most about his upcoming retirement, Wilson laughed — “less meetings. A lot less meetings.”
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